Away run comparable to English football's greats
Only two sides in top-flight history can now boast longer unbeaten away runs than Manchester United, after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace.
We may have returned from south London with two points fewer than we’d have liked, but the stalemate at Selhurst Park ensured it’s now 21 straight league matches without defeat on the road for the Reds.
That pushes us past the 20-mark set by Chelsea, between 2007 and 2008, and level with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool who, of course, were the last Premier League team to defeat United on their home ground, back in January 2020, and Brian Clough's great Nottingham Forest side.
Ahead of the Reds still are Arsenal, who take up the top two places having gone through the entire 2001/02 and 2003/04 terms without losing away from home.
At a time when games are coming every three of our days, and our famously vociferous travelling supporters are noticeably absent, ours is a remarkable sequence, even if five of the last six away games have been drawn.
Prior to that, United returned to Manchester with three points on 12 out of 15 occasions, a run which included a club-record 10 consecutive away wins.
Arguably the biggest challenge in the whole sequence will come on Sunday, when we travel across town to take on runaway league leaders Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola’s side have, incredibly, won each of their last 21 matches in all competitions and another victory would carve out a new piece of history for the Blues, with our neighbours seeking to topple their all-time unbeaten run, set in 2017.
14 - Manchester United are the fifth team to remain unbeaten in their first 14 away top-flight matches in a season (W8 D6), after Leeds United in 1973-74, Liverpool in 1987-88 and Arsenal in both 2001-02 and 2003-04. Solace. pic.twitter.com/eYiHWie4OC— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 3, 2021
However, if there’s one team who can find a way past City, surely it’s United – since the move from Maine Road in 2003, we’ve won 10 games at the Etihad, as opposed to their eight, including four of the last six.
If we do beat, or avoid defeat to, the Blues, only trips to Tottenham, Leeds, Aston Villa and Wolves remain in 2020/21 – and the prospect of becoming only the fourth side in English top-flight football’s 133-year history to record an unbeaten away campaign becomes a little less remote.
LONGEST UNBEATEN AWAY RUNS
Arsenal – 27 (April 2003 – September 2004)
Arsenal – 23 (August 2001 – September 2002)
Nottingham Forest – 21 (December 1977 – November 1978)
Liverpool – 21 (January 2019 – February 2020)
United – 21 (February 2020 -)
UNBEATEN AWAY SEASONS
Preston – 1888/89
Arsenal – 2001/02
Arsenal – 2003/04